How We Write Wednesdays: Making Characters Realistic–YOUR Way

So, after last Wednesday’s Character Chart Basics, that didn’t turn out to be so basic after all, how are we doing???

Like I said, I know it’s a lot to take a step back from a work-in-progress and rethink why you’re doing what your doing with your characters, how you’re making them realistic,  at key points in the story. But whether you’re in the planning stages or preparing to write/re-craft, that level of understanding of your intent for your character arcs is crucial. Still, even if it’s not your or your critique partner’s first time around the “mine for motivation in every scene” block, the process I described last week can seem overwhelming. It’s difficult to envision who and what your characters will be over the course of a novel.

character drawing

So, let’s take a step back and revisit Jenni’s blog for fresh look and her and my critique of her WIP. It’s her turn to take the HoWW wheel, and she’s promised to give us some specific examples of exactly how this sort of character analysis and planning/re-crafting can work, whether you’re doing it solo or as a team. How to make all the information I dumped into the last post work–YOUR way.

Remember, How We Write Wednesdays began with an idea of showing others how the brainstorming and critiquing we’ve done with our own and each other’s books has enhanced the depth and complexity and quality of our stories.

Mining for motivation and character development is just the first step on our journey here:

  • We want to show the process of writing and critiquing as it’s really done, not  just lecture about it.
  • We want to demonstrate and encourage you to discover your own process, not simply offer a list of “to-dos” that may or may not work once you try to apply them yourselves with no additional help.
  • This is a practical approach to helping writers find their own techniques–not a bucket of quick tips, when there’s nothing quick about the day-in, day-out challenge of creating an satisfying reading experience.

So head on over to Jenni’s blog to read about What is better? Do what other writers say works? Or make it work for you? And how to know the difference.

Then come back here next Wednesday, when I wrap up our Character Arc discussion, answer final questions, then spin things in a totally new direction.

Just as Jenni and I head off to the Dallas Fort Worth Writer’s conference (read more here and here) to teach in person. Hopefully we’ll see some of you there, or at the Central New York Mini-Conference in March, where I’ll be teaching plotting through character and a lot more, along with my agent Michelle Grajkowski.

Look us up. Come out and learn with us in person. Then work with us some more out here. We’ll be talking craft and critiquing and understanding and improving your own writing process for months to come ;o)

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5 Responses to “How We Write Wednesdays: Making Characters Realistic–YOUR Way”

  1. Mary Preston says:

    Writing sounds like awfully hard work I think I will stick to reading.

  2. Anna says:

    LOL!, Mary. We LOVE readers around here ;o) You’re family!

  3. Great help, thank you for providing all this invaluable information!

  4. cc says:

    Keep brainstorming so we can enjoy your books.

  5. One of the most exciting things that came out making Anna’s chart work for me was the ability to define the romantic relationship. The internal conflict has to sort of wrap around the external conflict. I did external well, but because my characters weren’t behaving authentically through real motivators there was a big misfire. I write Romantic suspense, which means I have to weave the two elements together. When I finished with the ugly I had no romance. The external was there, but we had to find the key motivating factors behind each trait, for each character.

    Then I took the chart to Heroine/Hero Relationship. Boy was that fun! hear a bit of sarcasm? Well, it was fun, but not until the light on my mining hat was shinning bright.

    Thanks Anna!

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